October 1, 2011

Meatball Challenge #1: Grilled Italian Meatball Skewers

I'm doing my first personal cooking challenge. It started when my mom gave me a big bag of frozen meatballs that she didn't want. I was determined to make things other than spaghetti and meatballs or meatball subs (though I'll probably end up making these both). I wanted something new and different and I found my answer while looking through my pantry. Here it is, a simple meal that has tons of flavor and great textures - all on a handy stick.

What You'll Need:
18 meatballs (frozen or fresh)
1/2 jar/can of tomato sauce
2 zucchini 
cherry tomatoes

Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees. Place around 18 meatballs on a foiled cookie sheet. I guessed I would probably put around three meatballs on a skewer and we would each have three skewers so I only cooked 18. Cook them for 15 minutes so they heat all the way through. I had no idea how these would taste but I went for it anyway.

Next you can get your zucchini ready. You're going to want the pieces around the same size as the meatballs so they cook evenly. I decided to make the pieces square so they would keep the skewers from rolling around with the round tomatoes and meatballs (I thought about this from past experience). This actually really helped.

Now I don't know about you, but I need more to my meal than three skewers of mostly veggies - especially when I had no way of knowing how they would turn out. I figured since we were having a relatively "healthy" meal I could add a little more fat. I decided to make potato chips too. Cut around 6 potatoes into thin slices and fry in two inches of oil. Place them on a plate with a paper towel on it and sprinkle some salt when they come out.

Lately I've been using the big cans of tomato sauce, but I usually only need about half a can when making food so I store the other half in an empty spaghetti sauce jar. I usually have sauce at hand all the time and I had half a jar in my fridge so I decided to use some to heat the meatballs in. This was a fabulous idea. Put the sauce in a sauce pan and keep on low heat to keep the splattering to a minimum. The sauce is already delicious on it's own but I added some black pepper, basil and oregano for some extra oomph. I think if I made this again I would add chili flakes for some extra spice.

When the meatballs are done, and while they're still hot, place them in your heated sauce. I left mine in for about 8 minutes so they could soak up some sauce (according to Mike and Alton Brown, this works. Good enough for me). At this point the meatballs have all sorts of potential for other dishes.
When the meatballs were basically done, I left them in the sauce and got my veggies and skewers ready to start assembling. All kinds of veggies would be good with these too. Mushroom and onions would probably be amazing but this is what I had on hand.

I ended up only putting two meatballs on a skewer then I made an all veggie skewer (which was also delicious). Tell me these don't look good already...

I placed the skewers aside and heated up my grill. Confession: I'm slowly starting to fall in love with this grill... in a totally normal way though. It heats in a couple of minutes, DRAINS FAT, and makes food taste better. Yes my friends that is all love.

When my grill was heated I was able to fit most of my skewers on the first round. I cooked mine for 6 minutes with the top closed down, turned them, then cooked them for another 4-5 with the grill open. Since the meatballs are already cooked you just have to cook the zucchini to the texture that you want.

When they're done, plate them and pour more of your tomato sauce over them. Serve them with your potato chips, a cold glass of lemonade, and enjoy.

Overall, I don't think I did too bad for my first "challenge." The flavors were great and the meatballs had a great flavor. This was the perfect amount of food for us too. This makes me very excited about the food that's to come. Stay tuned my fellow foodies.


  1. I love meatballs. I think you did good with your first challenge. Well done.

  2. I was sitting with my boyfriend at a local sandwich place eating a meatball sandwich yesterday and it made me want to go home and make tons of meatballs! I might have this a try soon! Yum!